Monday, March 10, 2008

More nations

I;ve added several nations to the knowledge base, and in the process reached a milestone. I've been unhappy with my division of "latin peoples" for some time, but I wanted ten in the category before I split it. I finally reached that, so my studies of Western civilization will now go rather better.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


One of the frustrating things about trying to do history or intnernational studies of any kind is that I've been adding countries in pretty much strict order of population. That isn't working. Some of the historically most interesting countries, for instance those with a long written history or widespread international political or economical influence, are not the most populous. That means thas that the practical utility of the knowledge base is badly crippled: I can't even talk intelligently about the early 20th century of India without reference to the British empire, or Indonesia without the Netherlands, and although there are plenty of nations in Latin America, I haven't had enough of them listed to distinguish french-speaking from portuguse-speaking countries.
I did some connecting of biographies to the particular 20 year periods of the 19th century, and some additional connections of biographies to particular individuals. I know from having done this analysis before that with my current listing, this is going to be rather heavily biased toward 19th century Britain. Fine, I can fix that by looking more carefully at other nations and periods, but I'll have a starting point to work from, For now, however, the frustration with trying to do European history without Austria, Hungary, or even Greece is just too much. When it comes to literature or mathematics, or even techniques of building construction...I surrender. Strict order of population has to go. I've been creepy crawling with adding nations: Time to put on some speed.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Science and back to history

I decided to take a break from history and do some work on science, and completed a bunch of categories that had been unfinished and hanging. However, after a few days of this I decided that it wasn't being driven by the actual needs of the rest of the base and went back to history.

I also decided that adding just one nation at a time was much too painfully slow and inefficient, especially since their order of historical importance is only weakly connected to their size in population. Since I don't have a ranking in order of historical importance, and it would be a real challenge to come up with one, I've decided to go back to taking them in bigger chunks.
I started that with prehistory, and found that I hadn't worked all the various blocks of nations back that far. Same with classical and medieval history, although I added enough realize that m classical and medieval overview of western civilization was bad, and rewrote that. I got all the various blocks of nations connected to modern history, so that part's fixed.
So, going into detail of modern history. I started with the 17th century, and went ahead and finished adding pages for the 20 year subdivisions. I have this done for 4 of the 5 centuries of the modern era, and I'm anxious to get this finished up. I'm also inching backwards through the 18th century and added more nations. I started adding some biographical references to the 20 year pages of the 19th century and I'm looking forward to getting back to it.